Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately order an impartial probe into the role of the Chhattisgarh police in the case of alleged torture of tribal teacher Soni Sori, now detained in the Raipur jail on charges of helping Maoists.

It wants proper medical facilities provided to the 35-year-old mother, who was tortured so badly that “...two foreign body [sic] recovered of size 2.5 x 1.5 x 1.0 c.m. each from the vagina and one foreign body of size 2.0 x 1.5 x 1.5 c.m. was recovered from the rectum…,” according to her lawyers, who were quoting a medical report of the Kolkata hospital.

Executive director of HRW Women's Rights Division Liesl Gerntholtz, in a letter to Dr. Singh, said the case raised serious questions about the Indian government's commitment to prevent torture, investigate torture allegations, hold accountable those responsible for torture and ensure that detainees and prisoners had adequate access to health care.

Besides being subjected to sexual assaults, Ms. Sori was given electric shocks in the name of interrogation, the letter said quoting various reports.

Quoting a public letter allegedly written by the woman to her lawyer in the Supreme Court, HRW said: “... Soni Sori identified and named the police officer who she says ordered and carried out torture in police custody. She wrote — after repeatedly giving me electric shocks, my clothes were taken off. I was made to stand naked. [Superintendent of Police] Ankit Garg was watching me, sitting on his chair.'

“While looking at my body, he abused me in filthy language and humiliated me. After some time, he went out and (…) sent three boys. [They] started molesting me and I fell after they pushed me. Then they put things inside my body in a brutal manner. I couldn't bear the pain and I was almost unconscious. After a long time, I regained consciousness (…) By then, it was already morning.”

Nearly three months after the Koltaka medical report, activists told HRW that the Chhattisgarh government was yet to file an FIR and start an investigation into the torture allegation.

Despite the clear risk that an investigation of the Chhattisgarh police by their own ranks could be biased, the Indian government failed to initiate any independent probe. On the contrary, in January 2012, the President awarded Ankit Garg the police medal for gallantry, HRW said in its letter.

  • HRW wants proper medical facilities provided to tribal teacher

  • Chhattisgarh government yet to file even FIR